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  • Writer's pictureDeanna Clark

Customs Updates: FAQ's about PPE Exports

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has provided a list of frequently asked questions concerning personal protective equipment in light of the current pandemic.

I sent my Letter of Attestation and my AES (Automated Export System) filing and haven’t heard anything back from CBP. Can I export my shipment?

DIS (Document Imaging System) sends a confirmation of receipt as does AES. You will be notified, most likely through the carrier if your shipment is being held and additional action is needed. Export shipments should be considered cleared to export in the ABSENCE of negative information or notification.

How do I submit the Letter of Attestation to associate to the AES filing?

Anyone submitting the Letter of Attestation to the CBP DIS should following the guidance identified below. CBP can receive PDFs up to 10 MB in size.

Send email to:

The email Subject Line: CAT=GEN; ITN=X12345678910111; ACTION= ADD

The body of the email should contain the data elements identified below mandatory are required the others are optional.

START_DATA TRANSMITTER_NAME= Mandatory (Name of company) PORT_CD = (4 digit port code) Conditional POC_INFO= Optional (Name and Phone Number) COMMENT= Optional (Any clarification/remark) RETURN_EMAIL_ADDRESS= Optional (if different than sender email address) END_DATA

Does CBP have a preference for receiving the LOA (Letter of Authority) by DIS or by email? Is it better to use one system or the other depending on the exemption being requested?

The email process mentioned in the notice is part of DIS with explanation provided in the DIS page linked to the notice. If you are sending LOAs to a person or group box via email, it would assume your shipment is being detained pending review and you are claiming your exemption at that time. DIS is preferable as it can be submitted early enough to allow review without supply chain interruption for qualifying shipments.

For shipments to Canada, for which there is no AES data, how is CBP connecting the LOA to the shipment?

There are 3 ways: 1. Voluntary filing in AES with a DIS attachment 2. Provide LOA on demand by CBP. This presumes the shipment is being detained

pending review 3. Provide carrier with LOA to provide upon request. CBP will still be temporarily

holding shipments for review but they should be resolved much faster if required.

An LOA for all in transit shipments is neither reasonable nor feasible. Can you narrow down the scope of the in transit shipments for which the LOA is truly necessary?

The LOA is a way to attest to the exemption language. In the case of in-bonds filed with CBP for transit (Transportation & Exportation or Immediate Exportation) the origin and destination of the shipment are clear from the CBP electronic records, bills and in-bond. If CBP needs additional information, a letter may then be provided. A letter would be required for AES filings for foreign goods that are temporarily kept in a bonded warehouse (including General Order) or Foreign Trade Zones that are being exported. AES is required in most of these cases and the letter should accompany as described.

Can you describe more specifically how you are using the LOA in order to help us understand what shipments truly require one?

CBP is following the requirements of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and utilizing the LOAs to determine eligibility for one of the stated exemptions to the Temporary Final Rule. They are subject to review both at the time of submission and in post audit reviews as well by FEMA.

Is CBP expecting any proactive actions from carriers to identify shipments that might contain the covered materials?

Early filing of the AES and supporting documents would assist CBP in expediting shipments. Shipments should be reported as soon as possible even if the AES filing needs to be later amended prior to export. Not a carrier responsibility unless the carrier is also an AES filer but one that is recommended. Additionally, now would be a great time for carriers and forwarders to participate in the EEM pilot.

What mechanism(s) will CBP use to identify shipments covered by the scope of the memo? CBP has indicated that AES will be one method, but from CBP guidance, it appears CBP is also contemplating other means of targeting shipments.

CBP will perform review on shipments through data review, document review and physical examination. The recent update to the rule is about establishing additional guidelines for that review process.

How will CBP notify a carrier of a hold? Of a hold release?

CBP has a longstanding process for notification of holds and releases from hold to export carriers, custodians and shippers. This process will continue and involves CBP making phone calls, sending email etc. The intent by CBP is to leverage existing processes to simplify guidance and training.

What actions would CBP take should it identify a shipment of covered materials already exported overseas?

This is dependent on FEMA actions and orders. At this time, there is no intent to return shipments from overseas but each case is individually reviewed and a shipment may require return.

If there is a disagreement between the carrier and local CBP regarding applicability of the memo/rule to a specific shipment (e.g., a transit shipment, a shipment to Canada/Mexico), what is the immediate escalation/resolution process?

CBP has established a national process for the review of all shipments that are subject to the Temporary Final Rule. First step after identification of a shipment that may contain actionable shipments of covered materials, ports will hold a shipment pending review of shipping documents and letters to determine eligibility for exemption. If the port believes that further review is needed, the information is forwarded to CBP and FEMA headquarters personnel for additional review. FEMA and CBP review the cases identified as needing further review on a daily basis in order to make a final determination. Ultimately, the FEMA Administrator and other senior US Government officials make the final determination if the shipment will be diverted back into US commerce or allocated by the government.

Information Provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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